November 26, 2014, 06:44:44 PM

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Messages - rmfagan

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Technical Support / Re: DIY. How to shoot the bird from the car.
« on: November 09, 2014, 03:28:07 PM »
Great post Surapon! Bonus point for making me laugh. Almost spit out my lunch when I saw this title! Thought this tutorial was gonna look a bit more like...

Canon General / Re: Slick City Kit?
« on: October 27, 2014, 04:25:35 PM »
I'll certainly look. Anyone have feedback on the rest of the kit? Solid choices? Swap 135 for 85? Bring flash? Is a nodal slide needed/worthwhile for the TSE? Would I be better off leaving the 24-70 at home and grabbing a prime?

I suppose a better question would be: What is the perfect kit for shooting architecture, people, cityscapes, night and the like that I might encounter in NYC (or Paris, Rome, Bucharest, etc) that is easy to carry and includes a light tripod? If you were doing it, with a 5D3, what would you bring if you could use anything?

Canon General / Re: Slick City Kit?
« on: October 27, 2014, 02:21:19 PM »
The incase bags look intriguing. I wish there were more photos of DSLR gear loaded in them, and that they provided an illustration of the tripod attachment.

My true wish would be if Ona would incorporate loops on the bottom of their fantastic leather bags for lashing a tripod, but alas it does not appear they do. I wonder, could a leather shop attach d-rings or loops, and whether the ransom for such a service would rival the already lofty prices of the bags themselves.

Canon General / Slick City Kit?
« on: October 27, 2014, 01:31:38 PM »
Hello all-

With your help, I decided on buying the 17 TS-E, and it's on order. While I anxiously await it's arrival, I'm trying to piece together what I hope would be a slick and versatile kit for shooting in NYC and the like (I could see such a kit equally adaptable for European travel for instance). As I'll be commuting into the city by train and mostly walking once there, weight and portability are certainly parameters for consideration, keeping in mind that image quality is still foremost. For reference, I currently own a 5D3, the 17TSE, 24-70L II, 70-200L II, 50 1.8, 3 x 600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT, Gitzo GT3451, Markins Q10i.

With that in mind, I thought my 5D3, the 17 TS-E, my 24-70L II, and purchasing a 135L would be an ideal kit allowing for architecture, unobtrusive street photography, and virtually anything else I might encounter. I can see shallow DOF and low light lacking perhaps, but I'm not sure bringing the 50 is worth it. I considered the 85L but am concerned about it's AF speed for street, and 135 seems to get me close enough to the reach of the 70-200 without the weight or "look at me!" appearance. Thoughts on this kit? Any holes? Should I bring a 600EX-RT?

Now to utilize the 17TSE in particular, I need a tripod, and my GT3451/Q10i seems too big and heavy for maneuvering subways and sidewalks and unnecessary for the kit I'd be deploying. The Gitzo GT1542T paired perhaps with a Q3i Traveller seems a much more compact and viable solution. Given it's on rebate right now, I'm inclined that way unless an argument is made for something different. I love RRS but can't seem to justify the expense in this case.

Lastly, I need a discrete sling or shoulder bag (no backpacks) to carry all this, and here I am stumped. I have a Think Tank Retrospective 30 that mostly fits the bill (though perhaps it has TOO much space for this kit) but I was hoping to have the option of carrying the tripod folded on the outside, perhaps on the bottom? Is the Urban Disguise my only option? Any other bags on the market? It needs to hold the kit, plus some ND, CPL, a remote, batteries, etc.

As always, thanks so much for the suggestions and assistance!

Lenses / Re: Which TS-E for NYC?
« on: October 14, 2014, 01:13:19 PM »
A bit of a wrinkle... I also quite enjoy landscape photography and frequently visit Vermont and NH, and occasionally travel to Montana and Utah to visit family. I'm also hoping to do another trip to Iceland in the coming year. Does my 24-70 II perform well enough for landscape uses that the utility of the 17 TS-E for architecture/interiors outweighs the 24 TS-E's benefits for landscape purposes.

To nip the impending suggestion in the bud: I can't afford to buy both.

Lenses / Which TS-E for NYC?
« on: October 14, 2014, 07:49:24 AM »
Hello all-

Finally ready to take the plunge on a TS-E lens but still woefully undecided on which. I currently shoot on a 5D3, with the 24-70L II, 70-200L II, and the nifty 50.

Living just outside of NYC it seems a shame I haven't taken the opportunity to photograph it. My primary interest in this context is the phenomenal architecture of the city, though I quite enjoy people photography as well. I'm envisioning the 24-70L II, a 135L, and one of the TS-E's (along with my Gitzo carbon legs and RRS ball head) as a suitable kit to these ends. But I'm undecided on the 17 vs 24.

One the one hand, 17 gives me a perspective 24 can't (though I could take advantage of shift movements). I have the Lee Big Stopper and hope to employ it but I read that is now also possible with the 17. So which is my better investment if I'm hoping to capture shots of the Brooklyn Bridge, Flat Iron Building, GCT, High Line, NY Public Library, and the like?

Thanks in advance!

I am aware that uses for a cpl extend beyond darkening skies. Rather I was using that as an example. Regardless, natural or artificial light will scatter and an ultra wide such as the Samyang 14 will result in uneven polarization across the frame, whether that frame includes sky or not. Granted, this phenomenon is most apparent with an even subject such as a blue sky. While other images may not show it as well, it still occurs.

A circular polarizer on a 14mm lens on FF is fairly pointless... Because polarization can only occur over a limited angle (90 degree IIRC) using one on such a wide lens would almost certainly result in uneven polarization across the image, i.e. banding in a blue sky.

It is generally not recommended.

Canon General / Re: Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« on: January 28, 2014, 10:37:56 PM »
First things first; thanks all for the replies and loads of advice and recommendations! It is greatly appreciated and especially nice to see everyone concerned for my (and my gear's) well-being.  ;)

Now to address a few of the comments...

I feel it is important to stress that the purpose of this trip is specifically photography. I realize now that I didn't clearly indicate that in the OP. True, I am not being paid directly to make images on this trip, but my intent is to build a portfolio worthy of being paid in the future. Regardless of current or future compensation, I would not be taking this trip if it were not for the photographic opportunities. As such, I'm disinclined to go with a one lens approach. I "get" the whole Cartier-Bresson thing, and the "what's in your hand" mentality, but the fact of the matter is that I have the ability to choose to have more at my disposal. The "right" tool(s) for the job(s), as it were.

Leaving the "good" gear at home seems to go against logic, to me at least. Why buy the best lenses, a 5D3, etc but leave it in a safe when there is some risk? It seems to me the risk of exceptional photos often goes hand in hand with the risk of none(i.e. losing your gear).

And yea, I know I'm no NatGeo 'tog, but the idea of just "buying a coffee table book with better pictures" than mine is hard to swallow. Isn't this why we're here? Aren't we out there to learn and get shots that are worthy of publication or admiration. If not, this exercise seems a bit pointless, no?

To that end, I'd think a single 5D3, 24-70, 70-200, and 17 TS-E, as well a tripod and a few filters, is a pretty minimum kit. I'm young and fit and just got back from carrying much more than that (to include a 500 II) on my back for nearly two weeks in Japan. I won't be getting tired walking stairs or climbing hills.

The theft concern is real and valid. I do have insurance, to include rental coverage. I'll also look into the cable-strap posted. That said, I've also backpacked for months on end through El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and more with gear without a problem. Care, some common sense, and a little luck go a long way, I've found.

Sorry that all came out as a rant. It wasn't really my intent. Just some responses that kind of made me do a double take.

As for gear, I think I will take the advice to go for the 17 in lieu of the 24 TS. I actually HAVE a 16-35 but really wanted the higher IQ and lines. Thinking of selling the 16-35. I'll be carrying my gear in a ThinkTank Retrospective, so at least thats fairly inconspicuous. Torn on the macro. I see one person gave it a thumbs up while most others are saying I've got too much gear.


Canon General / Upcoming trip, any can't miss spots?
« on: January 28, 2014, 08:57:51 AM »
Hello all. I'm wheels up in 44 days on another trip and I wanted to get the CR take on what to shoot. Any secret spots or can't miss places. General recommendations are welcomed as well.

I'm leaving NYC and have a 24-hr layover in Amsterdam, noon to noon. Then I'm flying into Athens, where I'll spend 3 nights. Then it's off to Istanbul for 4 nights, then a hop to Cappadocia for a night and a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the "chimneys". Then it's back home.

I'm planning on bringing my 5D3, 24-70 II, 70-200 II, nifty 50, my tripod, black glass, a few NDs, and one of my 600EX-RT's. I was considering bringing my 100L macro. Seems some of the Dutch "brownies", Greek food, and the Grand Bazaar beg for macro shots. Thoughts on that? I also intend to rent a TS-E. It's a hard call. The architecture and tight streets seem to scream 17, while Cappadocia might be better served by the 24. Any guidance there is appreciated.

So, any equipment guidance would be great, any input on where to go in the cities listed is even better! Thanks all!

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 21, 2014, 11:05:33 PM »
Ha, perhaps not as good as I make it out I guess. Always another side to the story. All my money goes to photography and travel and I otherwise live on a Bud Light-budget to afford it.

It helps that I tend to make very good friends when I travel and am often invited to visit them, which usually negates lodging costs. A lengthy period of time living in the Caribbean and having to travel back and forth to NYC helped me rack up the flyer miles.

When you're flying and sleeping free, trips are a LOT more affordable!

Canon General / Re: Winter Olympics....anyone going?
« on: January 21, 2014, 10:56:54 PM »
Funny, I saw a story about Russia having a problem selling out tickets and considered going. But ultimately, I could only sneak away for a 4-day weekend, 2 of which would be spent getting there/back, and I just don't know how realistic it would be to expect I'd get close enough to the action to get images without a credential. Ironically, I do have the requisite vest for Sochi, though it would likely raise some eyebrows at customs.

But hey, $550 r/t from NYC to MOW, $150 r/t to Sochi and tickets to some events as cheap as $100. A case of Red Bull and a 10lb bag of beef jerky and you might sneak in just over a grand if you couch surf/slum it. And on the upside, if God forbid, something DID happen, you might finally get an image on the cover of Time...

I'll pass.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:24:45 PM »
I've seriously considered the 300 2.8 as a cheaper alternative as well. Especially if I can pick one up during a Canon refurb sale. Very tempting indeed.

I'm not too big either: 5'9", 150, but then again I've had 4 years experience with heavy packs as an infantryman in the Marine Corps so I guess heavy loads don't bother me too much.

I did actually notice how nice the roads were in Japan, Hokkaido in particular. I did indeed enjoy the crabs :)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 21, 2014, 08:21:33 PM »
I tried, really tried, to convince my wife to let me buy the 600 mm., and her sister and husband were on my side, but realistically, the lens is too heavy to fly with.  However, she let me tryout the new 200-400 X1.4 lens before further consideration.

The 600 really is a bit too big/heavy to fly with, but I'd highly encourage you to check out the 500 II, with and without a 1.4 TC. It fits perfectly well mounted on a gripped 5D III in my Lowepro Trekker AW 400 (carry-on approved) and it never bothered me during my Japan trip. I was backpacking virtually the whole 10 days and the pack never left my back. From the streets of Tokyo, to the mountains of Nagano/Yudanaka, and the cold lakes and passes of Hokkaido, it went with me everywhere along with a 16-35 II, 70-200 II, 50 1.8, 600EX-RT, ST-E3, Gitzo 3541 w/Markins Q-Ball, filters and other accessories and was never a bother. It's remarkably portable. Lighter than the 200-400 I believe (?).

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: January 21, 2014, 05:06:09 PM »
lion rock-

I was at the Akan International Crane Center, about 30 mins from the Kushiro airport. Lens certainly played a big role. I borrowed the 500 II from CPS and couldn't be happier that I did.

The only downside is that I now have a tough decision. As I had been shooting a lot of sports, I was considering the 400 II, but this 500 really has made me think twice. It's fantastic for birds and general wildlife, and with enough room (shooting from the back of the end zone) I can probably make it work for football too.

That said, my interests are so varied that my next purchases are probably the 24-70 II and the 17 TS-E, along with a 2nd 600EX-RT and a handful of various ND grads... Trips to Athens, Istanbul, Iceland, Acadia NP, and Yosemite NP coming up this year and I'd like some different options for landscape and architecture than my current 16-35 II provides.

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